22 million fewer Americans insured under Senate GOP bill

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The Senate Republican health care bill would leave 22 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026 than under Obamacare, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

The highly anticipated score answers key questions about the impact of the Senate’s controversial legislation made public last Thursday. The analysis also offers clarity to wavering Senate Republicans on whether to vote for the bill later this week.

The CBO also found the bill would reduce deficits by $321 billion over the next decade.

The House passed its version of an Obamacare repeal bill in May. That legislation would leave 23 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026 than under the Affordable Care Act, CBO said earlier.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is insisting on a vote this week before lawmakers leave town for the July 4th recess. There are 52 Republican senators, and he needs 50 “yes” votes to move the bill through the Senate. At least five Republicans have so far publicly stated that they cannot support the legislation in its current form.

The largest savings in the Senate bill would come from reducing federal spending on Medicaid, which would decline by 26% by 2026, compared to current law. Like the House plan, the Senate’s version would end enhanced funding for Medicaid expansion, though at a slower pace, while overhauling the entire Medicaid program.

Federal spending on Medicaid would be reduced by $772 billion over the next 10 years, compared to current law. Some 15 million fewer Americans would be covered by Medicaid in 2026 — a deeper cut than under the House bill.

Also, senators would eliminate the mandates that require nearly all Americans to have coverage and companies with more than 50 workers to provide health benefits.

And it would jettison Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. These provisions, along with some others in the bill, would increase deficits on net by $541 billion, the CBO found. The costliest among them: The repeal of the 3.8% net investment tax on rich Americans, which would reduce revenue by $172.2 billion.

However, the Senate bill would maintain much of Obamacare’s subsidy structure to help people pay for individual coverage, but make it less generous, particularly for older enrollees. The federal government would spend $424 billion less on these subsidies under the Senate bill, compared to under Obamacare.

And senators would keep more of Obamacare’s insurance regulations than the House legislation, while allowing insurers to charge more to older policyholders.

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